Asteroid Affirmative

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AT Politics – NASA Lobbying

Various groups are lobbying for NASA and the continuation of space exploration—their spending and size forms a large presence in Congress.

Royanye, 7/11 [OpenSecretsBlog, “Bachmann Hires Former Gingrich Staffers, NASA in Lobbying Crosshairs and More in Capital Eye Opener: July 11” 7/11/11, mjf]

Despite the end of the space shuttle program, lobbying in the aerospace industry remains strong. During the first quarter of 2011, a total of 78 groups lobbied NASA. Some of these groups include Space Exploration Technologies and the Aerospace Industries Association of America. Although lobbying data is only available through the first quarter, the number of groups that have lobbied NASA so far in 2011 is not far behind the total number of groups that lobbied in 2010 and 2009. In 2010, 107 clients lobbied NASA, and 101 did in 2009, research from the Center for Responsive Politics indicates. The Aerospace Industries Association of America spent about $226,000 lobbying during the first quarter of this year. The group lobbied of behalf of the shuttle launch and a sustainable vision for space exploration, among other things. Aside from lobbying NASA, more than 100 organizations lobbied on issues relating to aerospace during the first quarter of 2011, research from the Center for Responsive Politics shows. The NASA Aeronautics Support Team is one of those groups lobbying in the aerospace industry. During the first quarter of 2011, this group spent $30,000 lobbying on aerospace issues. Specifically, it lobbied on include funding for NASA and aeronautics and exploration funding, lobbying reports show. Second-quarter lobbying data, which could indicate if there was an increase in lobbying as the final launch date approached, will be available on later in July, after filings are submitted to Congress on July 20.
NASA funding has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives—Representatives want to protect NASA jobs in their home state.

Matthews, 09 [Orlando Sentinel, “Florida lawmakers lobby Obama for more NASA funding” 11/23/09, mjf]

More than 80 U.S. House members wrote President Barack Obama today, urging the White House to increase NASA funding by up to $3 billion annually so that the agency can accelerate plans to send astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit. The letter, spearheaded by Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas of New Smyrna Beach, attracted the support of most Florida House members and several lawmakers from California and Texas. Those three states are directly tied to NASA’s human spaceflight program.We believe an increased level of funding is essential to ensure NASA has the resources needed to meet the mission challenges of human space flight,” wrote the lawmakers, including U.S. Reps. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, and Alan Grayson, D-Orlando. NASA plans to retire the space shuttle in 2010 but is not expected to build a replacement before 2017, a gap that should decimate the NASA workforce. Lawmakers have asked for more NASA funding to accelerate the next program or pick another program that could do the job. The letter was aimed at showing the White House that NASA funding has broad funding in Congress, although the 81 signatures representless than 20 percent of the 435-member House. Surprisingly, the list did not include the signatures of two key House lawmakers: U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tenn, who chairs the House Science and Technology subcommittee and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, who heads the subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan also did not sign the letter. The West Virginia Democrat chairs the House subcommittee that oversees NASA funding.

AT Politics – NASA Lobbying

The American public is willing to lobby on behalf of NASA—the citizen lobbyists represent 30 states and lobbied to a majority of House Representatives.

Powell, 10 [Chron Houston and Texas News, “Unpaid lobby goes to bat for NASA”, 5/21/11, mjf]

Rice University doctoral candidate Laurie Carrillo flew to Washington, D.C., on her own dime to stump for NASA, one of 152 students and other unpaid citizens who have taken up the call to save space agency programs by knocking on the doors of Capitol Hill. “Maybe 20 percent of the people are still neutral, sort of wait-and-see. But their antenna are up, and I think that's really heartening,” said the native of San Antonio who began her distinguished academic career at Rice with a $48,000 scholarship from NASA headquarters. Frank Centinello, 27, a resident of Buffalo, N.Y., and a doctorate student in aerospace at MIT, is another of the so-called citizen lobbyists from 30 states. “I don't see this as fighting for my livelihood so much as fighting for planetary science and human space exploration,” said Centinello, who was with a delegation that visited his home state congressman, Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y. The two doctoral candidates and 30 other students served as the vanguard in a canvassing operation across Capitol Hill by business leaders and local government officials that was quarterbacked by the Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership. The effort by Citizens for Space Exploration relied upon students and business people across the country to gain access to lawmakers or staff members as teams visited 355 of the 535 House and Senate offices this week. “I haven't met any opposition yet. But I'm kind of looking forward to that, actually, because it would make for a more interesting discussion,” said Centinello. The onslaught is one more maneuver by pro-NASA organizations and lawmakers to turn back the Obama administration's proposal to end the $108 billion back-to-the-moon program.

AT Politics – Bi-partisan

Space-based policies have bi-partisan support in Congress.

Gasser in 2011 [Andrew, President of TEA Party in Space, Retired Air Force/Navy Aviation General that worked in close contact with NASA, “More Bi-Partisanship on the Hill” , PN]

In a bi-partisan letter, Senator Patti Murray (D-WA) and Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) wrote a letter asking for competition of the booster portion only. This is important as well. The calling for competition with SLS is important for NASA; however, it is more important for the taxpayer. TPIS is a non-partisan organization. Whenever we see senators on either side of the aisle being fiscally responsible and embracing the free market, we need to acknowledge it. Being fiscally responsible is not a liberal or conservative, democrat or republican. It is just common sense. Senator Warner also penned the following: It is clear the SLS will be a critical component of our national space program in the coming years. As we move forward with difficult and necessary budget decisions, it is essential for NASA to prove it takes seriously its responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars in a manner that is efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective. Language like this needs to be commended where ever it is found. We need to hear a lot more of this coming from both sides of the aisle. Senators now calling for competition with SLS include Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Boxer (D-CA), Shelby (R-AL), Warner (D-VA), Murray (D-WA), and Chambliss (R-GA).
Plan Bipartisan – Committee on Science and Technology will push 07(“Subcommittee Questions NASA's Plan for Detecting Hazardous Asteroids “,, TDA)

The U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology's Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics today examined the status of NASA's Near-Earth Object (NEO) survey program, reviewed the findings and recommendations of NASA's report to Congress, and sought to assess NASA's plans for complying with the NASA Authorization Act of 2005 regarding NEOs. "NASA's NEO survey program is our 'insurance policy' against getting taken by surprise by an incoming asteroid. Much progress has been made in detecting and cataloging the largest NEOs over the last decade. However, much more remains to be done," said Udall. "We need to survey the smaller but still potentially hazardous asteroids that could do significant damage if they impact or explode above the Earth's surface. While the probability of such a direct hit is low, we in Congress have a responsibility for the safety of American citizens and we have directed NASA to come up with a survey plan. NASA didn't deliver a plan that would get the job done. I will continue to work with NASA and hold the agency accountable until their plan is complete." NEOs are asteroids and comets of varying sizes whose orbits come near to that of the Earth, thereby posing a potential threat of collision at some point in the future. The Committee has a long history of bipartisan interest in the potential threat posed by NEOs, in opportunities offered by NEOs for scientific research, and as potential extraterrestrial sources of minerals and other materials over the long run. The Committee's involvement began in the early 1990s under then-Chairman George Brown with legislation directing NASA to conduct workshops on detecting and intercepting NEOs.

AT Politics – Congress

Asteroid detection and deflection garners strong support in Congress

Asaravala 05 (Amit, reporter for Wired Science Online, “Congressman Backs Asteroid Agency” 6.01.05) JM

A plan to assign a government agency the task of protecting the Earth from a catastrophic asteroid strike is being endorsed by a senior member of the U.S. House Science Committee. But a related space mission to track an asteroid that may hit Earth in 2036 can't seem to get off the ground. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) said in a phone interview on Friday that he supports former Apollo astronaut Russell Schweickart's proposal to assign responsibility for dealing with threatening asteroids to a government agency. Rohrabacher said he will push Congress and the president to "take action on this by the end of the year." The appointed agency would have the authority to deflect or destroy a threatening asteroid, most likely with the help of NASA and the Defense Department. It would also mobilize emergency-response teams if an asteroid impact could not be avoided. Schweickart first proposed the idea last month, during a presentation at the International Space Development Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Both Rohrabacher and Schweickart acknowledge the chance of an asteroid strike is extremely small. But they argue that the consequences of an impact make it necessary to prepare in advance. "I think it's worthwhile for us," said Rohrabacher. "If something can destroy something the size of Rhode Island and disrupt the ecosystem of the world, it's important to us." So far, NASA's response to the idea has been positive.
Time frame for a asteroid hit is unpredictable and Congress supports saving the planet

Keim 09(How to Defend Earth Against an Asteroid Strike By Brandon Keim March 27, 2009, is a Wired Science reporter and freelance journalist G.L)

In troubled economic times, it’s often hard to convince the government to fund space science. Heck, at least those much-studied fruit flies live on our planet. But there’s one field of research that the public should be happy to support: keeping the Earth from being pummeled by asteroids. And there is no shortage of ideas for how to do this. Earlier this month, a skyscraper-sized asteroid passed within 50,000 miles of Earth — a galactic hair’s breadth separating the planet from an impact like one that flattened 800 square miles of Siberian tundra in 1908. Then there’s an asteroid spotted in 2004 and called Apophis. Astronomers originally thought it might hit Earth in 2029. Then they decided that it couldn’t. Finally they moved back the clock to 2036. The uncertainty is understandable, but not exactly reassuring. And even if Apophis misses, some other rock big enough to put a serious dent in Earth and everything living here will take dead aim for us someday. It’s just a matter of time. Some researchers put the odds of a civilization-wrecker at one in the next 300,000 years, others at 1 in 10 for the next century. But when our luck finally runs out, humanity will have something even more useful: guns. As described in the scheduled proceedings of the upcoming first International Academy of Astronautics Planetary Defense conference, engineers have come up with plenty of ways to nudge an Earth-bound asteroid off-course, or failing that, obliterate it from its existence. Here are some of their ideas.
Congress wants Space programs

Space politics 11(Posey wants to go back to the Moon April 7, 2011 at 8:48 am · Filed under Congress, NASA,, )

Congressman Bill Posey (R-FL) has been vocal recently about making human spaceflight NASA’s top priority in a constrained budget environment. Now he’s more specific: not only does he want to support human spaceflight, he wants NASA to return to the goal from the Vision for Space Exploration of sending humans back to the Moon, and is making a longshot bid to make that happen. In an op-ed in Florida Today on Thursday, Posey says he plans to introduce legislation “calling for NASA to resume the goal set forth in the 2005 NASA Authorization Act to return to the moon.” In the op-ed, Posey reiterates a number of past arguments about supporting human spaceflight, including its role as an “economic driver” and its military importance (again, as in his statement recently to the House Budget Committee, likening space to “Earth’s Golan Heights.”) He doesn’t go into detail, though, about why a return to the Moon would do more on those fronts than something like the administration’s plans for human missions beyond Earth orbit that don’t, at least in the foreseeable future, including missions to the lunar surface. “We must make the moon mission our highest priority within a NASA budget that is becoming increasingly distracted with other less important pursuits,” he argues. “The moon is achievable within the budget constraints that are necessary to secure America’s future.”

AT: low probability

The plan is like an insurance policy-even the low probability is worth it because we prevent the disaster from occurring.

IRWIN I. SHAPIRO et al in 10,( Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair FAITH VILAS, MMT Observatory at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, Vice Chair MICHAEL A’HEARN, University of Maryland, College Park, Vice Chair ANDREW F. CHENG, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory FRANK CULBERTSON, JR., Orbital Sciences Corporation DAVID C. JEWITT, University of California, Los Angeles STEPHEN MACKWELL, Lunar and Planetary Institute H. JAY MELOSH, Purdue University JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG, Universal Space Network, Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS,

Although the possibility of a large NEO impact with Earth is remote, conducting surveys of NEOS and studying means to mitigate collisions with them can best be viewed as a form of insurance. It seems prudent to expend some resources to prepare to counter this collision threat. Most homeowners, for example, carry fire insurance, although none expects her or his house to burn down any time soon. The distinction between insurance for the collision hazard and other “natural” hazards, such as earthquakes and hurricanes, is that we now have the possibility to detect and prevent most serious collisions. In the case of earthquakes, for example, despite efforts, primarily in China, Japan, and the United States, we cannot yet reliably predict either the epoch or the severity of an earthquake. We do nonetheless fund the analog of an insurance policy through studies of this hazard and through the design and construction of earthquake-resistant structures, and in development of plans for response and recovery. The goal is to reduce both the number of fatalities and the damage to property from earthquakes. According to available figures from the NRC report Improved Seismic Monitoring⎯ Improved Decision-Making: Assessing the Value of Reduced Uncertainty,6 the United States alone now spends well in excess of $100 million annually on this suite of efforts. The annual United States death rate from earthquakes, averaged over the past two centuries for which data are available, is approximately 20 per year, with 75 percent of that figure attributed to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, mostly from related fires. For Japan, both the expenditure and the fatality figures are far larger. China and other parts of Asia have also suffered massive casualties from earthquakes. The September 2009 earthquakes that caused loss of life in Indonesia, Samoa and American Samoa highlight this ongoing threat to human life. Given the low risk over a period of, say, a decade (see Chapter 2), how much should the United States invest in this insurance? This question requires a political, not a scientific, answer. Yet the question bears upon the committee’s charge. The committee was asked to recommend the optimum approach for each of the tasks, with the definition of “optimum” left to the committee. A unique characteristic of the NEO research premiums, which distinguishes them from the usual types of insurance, is that the entire premiums would be directed towards the prevention of the catastrophe. In no case, however, is it wise to consider application of techniques more than a few decades into the future. The technologies available at that time would likely be both more efficient and more effective, rendering present approaches obsolete. This is not to suggest waiting for those future technologies, leaving Earth unaware and threats to Earth unmitigated in the meantime.

AT Nuclear Deflection Bad

Nuclear deflection is a reliable method and can prevent fragmentation

IRWIN I. SHAPIRO et al in 10,( Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair FAITH VILAS, MMT Observatory at Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, Vice Chair MICHAEL A’HEARN, University of Maryland, College Park, Vice Chair ANDREW F. CHENG, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory FRANK CULBERTSON, JR., Orbital Sciences Corporation DAVID C. JEWITT, University of California, Los Angeles STEPHEN MACKWELL, Lunar and Planetary Institute H. JAY MELOSH, Purdue University JOSEPH H. ROTHENBERG, Universal Space Network, Committee to Review Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS,\

Nuclear outputs are well determined from tests. Just as with kinetic impactors, the greatest uncertainty in their use lies in the NEO response, particularly our understanding of shock propagation through low-density material and of the large variety of NEO structures and behavior upon impact that could be encountered. Consider as examples: Asteroid Itokawa, like many asteroids, appears to consist of rubble weakly bound together by gravity. It was found to have a bulk density of about 2 g/cm3 (Abe et al., 2006), i.e., a porosity near 40 percent. Some asteroids, such as Eros have densities near that of solids, but are probably heavily fractured (Britt et al., 2003). However, 2001 0E84 is a large (~1-kilometerdiameter) body rotating so rapidly that it must be very strong and is therefore not very porous; (6187) 1986 DA is essentially a solid iron NEO.1 All other known fast-spinning bodies are small (<200 meters diameter). There are also low-density objects, like asteroid Mathilde, where observed craters suggest a very porous surface with larger efficient shock dissipation. The bulk density of cometary nuclei is likely <1 g/cm3. NEOs have a wide range of shapes, sizes, and densities. The bulk density of those asteroids for which it is known is comparable with that of materials used in nuclear effects simulations (e.g., gravel ≈ 1.5 g/cm3 and gravel with sand ≈1.9 g/cm3). The sophisticated computer simulations discussed here were used to model one of many possible structures, a 1-kilometer-diameter structure with a high-density core of 2.63 g/cm3 surrounded by a surface layer of 1.91 g/cm3. Experimental results indicate that high porosity can significantly reduce the shock strength and rebound of shocked material (Holsapple, 2004). The impulse from a given energy coupled into a porous surface is lower than it would be for a nonporous solid, and the ejecta is reduced. A complete and adequate crushing model is necessary to determine the shock effects on a porous body. High porosity dissipative surfaces lead to quantitatively similar uncertainties for both nuclear explosives and kinetic impactors, and an impactor mission to study asteroid structure would provide useful data for both approaches. The limited set of conditions studied in the simulation described below begin to examine uncertainties in important physical properties, so as to understand the application of nuclear explosions to NEO orbit change. They are not exhaustive, and there is much more to learn about the effects of shape, spin, and structure. Except for NEOs 10 kilometers in diameter or larger, it is generally likely that nuclear explosives can provide a more than large enough ΔV, with little material loss and with essentially no danger of fragmentation.

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